Kurt Warner

This article is about the football quarterback. For the running back, see Curt Warner.

Kurt Warner

refer to caption

Warner in 2007
No. 13
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1971-06-22) June 22, 1971
Place of birth: Burlington, Iowa
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 214 lb (97 kg)
Career information
High school: Cedar Rapids (IA) Regis
College: Northern Iowa
Undrafted: 1994
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Pass attempts: 4,070
Pass completions: 2,666
Percentage: 65.5
TDINT: 208–128
Passing yards: 32,344
Passer rating: 93.7
Player stats at NFL.com
Career Arena statistics
Pass attempts / completions: 1,320 / 818
Percentage: 62.0
TDINT: 183–43
Passing yards: 10,465
Passer rating: 107.84
Player stats at ArenaFan.com

Kurtis Eugene Warner (born June 22, 1971) is a former American football quarterback, a current part-time TV football analyst, and a philanthropist.[1] He played for three National Football League (NFL) teams: the St. Louis Rams, the New York Giants, and the Arizona Cardinals. He was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 1994 after playing college football at Northern Iowa.[2] Warner went on to be considered the best undrafted NFL player of all time,[3] following a 12-year career regarded as one of the greatest stories in NFL history.[3][4]

Warner first attained stardom while playing for the St. Louis Rams from 1998 to 2003, where he won NFL MVP awards in 1999 and 2001[5] as well as the Super Bowl MVP award in Super Bowl XXXIV when he and the Rams beat the Tennessee Titans.[6] He led the 2008 Arizona Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII (the franchise's first Super Bowl berth), and owns the three highest single-game passing yardage totals in Super Bowl history. Warner currently holds the seventh-highest career passer rating of all-time (93.7),[7][8] and the third-highest career completion percentage in NFL history with 65.5%.[9]

In 13 career playoff games, Warner ranks first all-time in completion percentage (66.5%), first in yards per attempt (8.55), and second in passer rating (102.8).[9] He announced his retirement on January 29, 2010.[10]

High school and college

Born in Burlington, Iowa, Warner played football at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, graduating in 1989. After that he attended the University of Northern Iowa, graduating in 1993. At UNI, Warner was third on the Panthers' depth chart until his senior year. When Warner was finally given the chance to start, he was named the Gateway Conference's Offensive Player of the Year.

Professional career

Green Bay Packers

Following his college career, Warner went undrafted in the 1994 NFL Draft. He was invited to try out for the Green Bay Packers' training camp in 1994, but was released before the regular season began; Warner was competing for a spot against Brett Favre, Mark Brunell and former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer. While Warner was with the Packers, the head coach was Mike Holmgren; the quarterback coach was Steve Mariucci; and Andy Reid was the offensive assistant.[11] After Warner was released, Mariucci told him that he knew Warner had enormous potential but was not ready to be an NFL quarterback yet.

It was at this time that Warner stocked shelves at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls for $5.50 an hour.[12] Warner often notes this as the starting point when telling of his rise to NFL stardom in 1999. He also mentions his conversion to Christianity that occurred around 1997.[13] Warner also returned to Northern Iowa and worked as a graduate assistant coach with the football team, all the while still hoping to get another tryout with an NFL team.

Arena football

With no NFL teams willing to give him a chance, Warner turned to the Arena Football League (AFL) in 1995, and signed with the Iowa Barnstormers. Warner was named to the AFL's First-team All-Arena in both 1996 and 1997 after he led the Barnstormers to Arena Bowl appearances in both seasons. Warner's performance was so impressive that he would be named twelfth out of the 20 Best Arena Football Players of all time.[14]

Before the 1997 Arena season, he requested and got a tryout with the Chicago Bears, but an injury to his throwing elbow caused by a spider bite sustained during his honeymoon prevented him from attending.[15]

In 2000, after Warner's breakout NFL season, the Arena Football League used his new fame for the name of its first widely available video game, Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed. On August 12, 2011, Warner was named as an inductee into the Arena Football Hall of Fame.

St. Louis Rams

In 1998, Warner was finally signed by an NFL franchise, the St. Louis Rams, and was allocated to NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals, where he would lead the league in touchdowns and passing yards.[16] His backup at the time was future Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, another famous rags-to-riches quarterback story. Returning to the United States for the season, Warner spent the 1998 season as St. Louis' third-string quarterback behind Tony Banks and Steve Bono. He ended his season completing only 4 of 11 pass attempts for 39 yards and a 47.2 QB rating.

1999 season

After releasing Banks and Bono following the 1998 season, the Rams signed free agent Trent Green to be their starting QB, and Warner was promoted to second string. When Green tore his ACL in a preseason game, Rams coach Dick Vermeil named Warner as the Rams' starter. In an emotional press conference, Vermeil—who hadn't seen Warner work with the first-string offense—famously said, "We will rally around Kurt Warner, and we'll play good football." With the support of running back Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl, Warner put together one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, throwing for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes and a completion rate of 65.1%. The Rams' high-powered offense, run by offensive coordinator Mike Martz, was nicknamed "The Greatest Show on Turf" and registered the first in a string of three consecutive 500-point seasons, an NFL record.

Warner threw three touchdown passes in each of his first three NFL starts; he is the only NFL quarterback in history to accomplish that feat. Warner drew more attention in the Rams' fourth game of the season, a home game against the San Francisco 49ers (who had been NFC West division champions for 12 of the previous 13 seasons). The Rams had lost their last 17 meetings with the 49ers, but Warner proceeded to throw a touchdown pass on each of the Rams' first three possessions of the game, and four TDs in the first half alone, to propel the Rams to a 28–10 halftime lead on the way to a 42–20 victory. Warner finished the game with five touchdown passes, giving him 14 in four games and the Rams a 4–0 record. Warner's breakout season from a career in anonymity was so unexpected that Sports Illustrated featured him on their October 18 cover with the caption "Who Is This Guy?"[17] He was named the 1999 NFL MVP at the season's end for leading the Rams to their first playoff berth since 1989 (when they were still in Los Angeles) and their first division title since 1985.

Kurt Warner at post-game press conference for Super Bowl XXXIV

In the NFL playoffs, Warner ultimately led the Rams to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans. In the game, he threw for two touchdowns and a Super Bowl-record 414 passing yards, including a 73-yard touchdown to Isaac Bruce when the game was tied with just over two minutes to play, which proved to be the game-winning score. Warner also set a Super Bowl record by attempting 45 passes without a single interception. For his performance, Warner was awarded the Super Bowl MVP award.[18]

2000 season

Warner started the 2000 season where he had left off in his record-setting 1999 season, racking up 300 or more passing yards in each of his first 6 games (tying Steve Young's record) and posting 19 touchdown passes in that stretch. Warner broke his hand and missed the middle of the season, but Trent Green filled in ably and the Warner/Green duo led the Rams to the highest team passing yard total in NFL history, with 5,232 net yards. Warner and Green's combined gross passing yards total was 5,492. In contrast to his previous season, however, Warner's turnover rate drastically increased in 2000, as he threw an interception in 5.2% of his attempts (compared to just 2.6% in 1999). Despite one of the most productive offensive years by an NFL team, the Rams only won ten games and lost in the wild card round to the New Orleans Saints. In response to the disappointing season, the Rams cut nine of their eleven defensive starters during the offseason, and Trent Green was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs.

2001 season

Warner quickly returned to MVP form in 2001. Although his performance lagged behind his 1999 performance, he amassed a league-high 36 touchdown passes and 4,830 passing yards, and another league high mark in passer rating (101.4). Warner's tendency for turnovers carried over from 2000, as he tossed a career-high 22 interceptions (despite completing a career-high 68.7% of his passes), but he still led "The Greatest Show on Turf" to its third consecutive 6–0 start (becoming the first NFL team to do so, later equaled by the 2005–2007 Indianapolis Colts), an NFL-best 14–2 record, and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI. Warner was also named the NFL MVP for the second time in three seasons, giving the Rams their third winner in as many years (running back Marshall Faulk won in 2000).

In Super Bowl XXXVI, Warner threw for 365 yards (then the second-highest, now the third-highest total in Super Bowl history) and a passing touchdown along with a rushing touchdown, but his rhythm was disrupted by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick's defensive game plan and he tossed two costly interceptions which helped stake the heavy-underdog Patriots to a two-touchdown lead. After falling behind to the Patriots 17–3, though, the Rams rallied to tie the game late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard Warner QB sneak touchdown run and a 26-yard touchdown pass from Warner to Ricky Proehl. The game ended in a 20-17 loss for Warner and the Rams when Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired, giving the Patriots the first of three Super Bowl wins in four years.

2002–2003 seasons

Warner began the 2002 season as the Rams' starter, but he played poorly, throwing seven interceptions against only one touchdown as the team went 0–3. In the Rams' fourth game, this one against the Dallas Cowboys, Warner broke a finger on his throwing hand. Warner attempted to come back later in the season, but his injury allowed him to play only two more games (both losses). In contrast to his 103.4 career passer rating entering the season, Warner posted a minuscule 67.4 rating in 2002. The following season, Warner was replaced as the Rams' starting quarterback for good after fumbling six times in the team's opening-day game against the New York Giants. Warner later revealed that he had previously broken his hand and that it had not fully healed, making it more difficult to grip the football.[19] His successor as the Rams' starting quarterback, Marc Bulger (another relatively unheralded quarterback coming out of college), stepped into the breach and played reasonably well upon replacing Warner. The Rams released Warner on June 1, 2004 with three years left on his contract.[20]

New York Giants

Two days after his release from the Rams, he signed a two-year deal with the New York Giants. Warner started the 2004 season as the Giants' starting quarterback, winning five of his first seven games, but following a two-game losing streak, highly touted rookie quarterback Eli Manning was given the starting job. The Giants had a 5–4 win-loss record at the time of Warner's benching, finishing at 6–10 overall (going only 1–6 under Manning). Following the season, Warner chose to void the second year of his contract, and thus became a free agent.

Warner, in October 2004

Arizona Cardinals

2005 season

In early 2005, Warner signed a one-year, $4-million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, and was quickly named the starter by coach Dennis Green. Warner posted three relatively mediocre performances before injuring his groin and being replaced by former starter Josh McCown. McCown performed well enough in the two games Warner missed that Green named McCown the starter for the remainder of the season.

But after McCown struggled in two straight games, Green re-inserted Warner into the starting line-up. After playing fairly well in two consecutive losses (passing for a total of nearly 700 yards), Warner defeated his former team, the Rams, by a score of 38–28. He passed for 285 yards and three touchdowns while posting a quarterback rating of 115.9. Warner's season ended in week 15 when he partially tore his MCL.

Warner signed a new three-year deal with the Cardinals on February 14, 2006. The deal had a base salary of $18 million and, with performance incentives, could have been worth as much as $24 million.[21]

2006 season

In week one of the 2006 NFL season, Warner won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a win over San Francisco. Two weeks later, Warner passed the 20,000-yard passing milestone in his 76th game, the second-quickest of any player in NFL history (Warner accomplished the feat in one game more than it took record-holder Dan Marino).

After three subpar games in weeks 2 to 4, Warner was replaced at quarterback by rookie Matt Leinart in the fourth quarter of week 4. Then-coach Dennis Green stated that Warner would be the backup quarterback for the remainder of the season. In week 16, Leinart went down with a shoulder injury against the 49ers, forcing Warner to see his first action since week 4. Warner filled in nicely, as he was able to hang on for the Cardinals win. In week 17 against the San Diego Chargers, Warner started again in place of the injured Leinart, throwing for 365 yards (which led the NFL for that week) and a touchdown, though the Chargers were able to hang on for a 27–20 win.

2007 season

Leinart was given the starting quarterback job at the start of the 2007 season. But in the third game of the season, against the Baltimore Ravens, Warner came off the bench to relieve an ineffective Leinart during the 4th quarter with the Ravens leading 23–6 at the beginning of the period. Warner led a furious comeback, as he completed 15 of 20 passes for 258 yards and 2 TDs. This brought Arizona to a tie game (23–23), though Arizona would go on to lose the game 26–23 after Baltimore kicked a last-second field goal.

On September 30, 2007, during the week four game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Warner relieved Leinart again, following another ineffective start. Warner finished with 14 completed of 21 attempts for 132 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions, while Leinart re-entered the game in the 4th quarter and led the Cardinals to their final touchdown. After Leinart was placed on injured reserve, Warner was named starter for the remainder of the 2007 season.[22]

Warner passed for a career-high 484 yards against the 49ers in a 31–37 loss on November 25, but had a fumble in the end zone in overtime that was recovered by Tully Banta-Cain, and the Cardinals lost. However, the following week Warner improved; and the Cardinals earned a victory over the Browns that brought the Cardinals to 6–6 and kept them in the chase for the NFC Wild Card playoff spot. Warner finished the 2007 season with 27 passing touchdowns, just one shy of the Cardinals franchise record. Warner's performance earned him a $1 million bonus for the year, and he fell just short of attaining a 90.0+ passer rating, which would have given him an extra $500,000.

2008 season

Leinart was named the Cardinals' starting QB going into the 2008 off-season, but Ken Whisenhunt stated that it would be very possible for Warner to be the starter before week one of the regular season. Indeed, Warner was named the starter on August 30, 2008. That season, Warner had 4,583 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 67.1%. He was the top ranked passer in the National Football Conference for the third time, and only trailed Phillip Rivers and Chad Pennington of the AFC in NFL passer rating for the season.[23] Warner also received FedEx Air Player of the Week honors for his performance during weeks 9 and 11 of the season.

On December 7, 2008, Warner led the Cardinals to a 34–10 win over his former team, the Rams, securing for the Cardinals the NFC West Division title and their first playoff berth since 1998. It was the Cardinals' first division title since 1975 and third of the post-merger era. As a result, the Cardinals would play only their second home playoff game ever, as they had never played a home playoff game in Arizona despite winning two division titles. On December 16, 2008, Warner was named the starting quarterback for the NFC team in the 2009 Pro Bowl.[24]

2008 postseason

On January 3, 2009, Warner led the Cardinals in their victory over the Atlanta Falcons 30–24 at home in the first round of the playoffs. During the game Warner went 19 for 32 passing, a completion percentage of 59.4%, for 271 yards. He threw two touchdowns and one interception.[25] This win represented the first time the Cardinals had won a post-season home game since the 1947 NFL Championship Game.

On January 10, Warner helped the Cardinals defeat the Carolina Panthers 33–13 in Charlotte, North Carolina in the second round of the playoffs. During the game Warner went 21 for 32 passing, for 220 yards, a completion percentage of 65.6%, with two touchdowns and one interception. This win was the first time the Cardinals had won a game on the East Coast the entire 2008 season.

On January 18, Warner threw for 279 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles to lead the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in history. Warner is one of three quarterbacks who made Super Bowl starts with two different teams (the others are Craig Morton [1970: Dallas Cowboys and 1977: Denver Broncos] and Peyton Manning [2006 & 2009: Indianapolis Colts and 2013 & 2015: Denver Broncos]). Warner also became the third quarterback in NFL history to win a conference championship with two different teams (following Craig Morton and Earl Morrall).

In Warner's third career Super Bowl appearance on February 1, the Cardinals lost Super Bowl XLIII 27–23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving him with a career 1–2 record in Super Bowls. Despite losing, Warner still managed to throw for 377 yards (the 2nd-highest total in Super Bowl history). He completed 72.1% of his passes, and had a quarterback rating of 112.3. Warner had now recorded the three highest single-game passing yardage totals in the history of the Super Bowl, and joined Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, John Elway, and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to throw a touchdown pass in three different Super Bowls. Warner had taken his team to the Super Bowl every year that he played as the starting quarterback during all regular and post season games.[26]

2009 season

Warner announced his desire to return to the Cardinals for the 2009 season. The Cardinals offered him a two-year contract worth around $20 million but Warner was looking for a contract that would pay him about $14 million a year and the two sides could not come to an agreement. On February 27, 2009 Warner became a free agent[27] and went on to have talks with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers offered Warner a contract worth more than that offered by the Cardinals. On March 4, Warner re-signed with the Cardinals to a two-year deal[28] worth $23 million total, $4 million for each of the next two years, with a $15 million signing bonus.[29] Warner underwent arthroscopic hip surgery to repair a torn labrum on March 17, 2009.[30] On September 20, 2009, Warner broke the NFL’s single-game record for completion percentage in the regular season, completing 24 of 26 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Warner's 92.3 percent completion rate broke the previous NFL record set by Vinny Testaverde in 1993.

On November 1, 2009, Warner threw a career-high-equaling five interceptions during a loss to the Carolina Panthers. During the same game Warner became the first quarterback in the NFL to throw for over 14,000 yards with two different teams. On November 8, Warner equaled his career-high of five touchdown passes in a single game during a 41–21 victory over the Chicago Bears. This performance led to Warner being named both the NFC Offensive Player of the Week[31] and the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week.[32] On November 15, 2009, Warner reached a career milestone with his 200th touchdown pass during a 31–20 win against the Seattle Seahawks.[33]

On November 22, 2009, during a 21–13 victory over the St. Louis Rams, Warner left the game after suffering a concussion.[34] Warner continued to suffer from post-concussion symptoms and on November 29, 2009, he was deactivated against the Tennessee Titans, breaking his consecutive starts streak at 41 straight games.[34][35] On December 6, 2009, Warner returned to action as the Cardinals defeated the Minnesota Vikings 30–17. Warner registered his fourth consecutive game with a passer rating of 120 or better, making him only the second quarterback in NFL history to accomplish the feat.[36] After his three-touchdown performance, Warner was named both the NFC Offensive Player of the Week[37] and the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week.[38]

On December 27, 2009, Warner became only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw 100 touchdown passes with two different teams (Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is the other), in the Cardinals' 31–10 win over the St. Louis Rams.[39] On December 29, 2009, Warner was named an alternate quarterback for the NFC team in the 2010 Pro Bowl.[40]

2009 postseason

On January 10, 2010, Warner threw five touchdowns and completed 29 of 33 passes for 379 yards in a 51–45 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The game had the highest combined total score in NFL playoff history.[41] Warner became one of the very few quarterbacks in NFL history to throw more touchdowns (5) than incompletions (4) in a playoff game. Warner finished the game with the second highest quarterback rating in NFL playoff history with a rating of 154.1.[42] He also became the second quarterback to throw for five touchdown passes in a playoff game twice, and the first to do so since the merger of the leagues. He is also the oldest player to have thrown that many touchdown passes in a playoff game (38 years, 202 days). Warner also tied the NFL record for consecutive playoff games with at least three touchdown passes (three games). Since the playoff game was his last at home in the playoffs during his career, he finished a perfect 7-0 in home contests (4-0 with St. Louis; 3-0 with Arizona).[43]

Kurt Warner inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Jim Hanifan and wife Brenda Warner, look on.

On January 16, Warner was injured in the first half trying to tackle the ball carrier after an interception on the way to a 45–14 loss at New Orleans in the NFC Divisional round. He returned for the second half, but yielded to understudy Matt Leinart midway through the fourth quarter. In 2012, the NFL discovered the Saints had placed a bounty on Warner.[44] Warner never accused the Saints of making an illegal hit or ending his career, saying “It was a violent hit, no question. But I also believe it was a legal hit.”[45]


Warner officially announced his retirement from the National Football League in January 2010. He said he was looking forward to finally being a true father to his seven kids, and that he wanted to spend time with his wife. He spoke on the impact and influence of his family, former teammates, and God.[46] He became eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame following the 2014 season. In December 2014, Warner admitted he briefly considered coming out of retirement and returning to the Cardinals following the team losing Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton due to injuries.[47]

Warner became an Iowa Barnstormers broadcaster for the 2011 Arena Football League season. In May 2010 he was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame.[48] He is also a member of the Iowa Barnstormers Hall of Fame.

Warner was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Career statistics

Year Team G-S Cmp-Att Yds Pct TD W-L
1990 UNI Panthers 8–13 141 .615 2
1991 UNI Panthers 15–25 25 .600 0
1992 UNI Panthers 5–18 69 .278 0
1993 UNI Panthers 12-12 173–296 2,747 .584 17 8-4
AFL & NFL Europe
Year Team G-S Cmp-Att Yards Pct TD Int Rate W-L
1995 Iowa Barnstormers 14–14 237–400 2,980 .593 43 14 94.70 7–5
1996 Iowa Barnstormers 14–14 259–422 3,336 .614 61 15 107.49 12–2
1997 Iowa Barnstormers 14–14 322–498 4,149 .647 79 14 118.55 11–3
1998 Amsterdam Admirals 10–10 165–326 2,101 .506 15 6 78.8 7–3
Led the league
Won the Super Bowl
Super Bowl appearance
Bold Career high


Year Team G-S Cmp Att Yds Pct Y/A TD Int Lng Sack-Yds Rate W-L
1998 STL 1–0 4 11 39 36.4 3.5 0 0 21 0–0 47.7 0–0
1999 STL 16–16 325 499 4,353 65.1 8.7 41 13 75 29–201 109.2 13–3
2000 STL 11–11 235 347 3,429 67.7 9.9 21 18 85 20–115 98.3 8–3
2001 STL 16–16 375 546 4,830 68.7 8.8 36 22 65 38–233 101.4 14–2
2002 STL 7–6 144 220 1,431 65.5 6.5 3 11 43 21–130 67.4 0–6
2003 STL 2–1 38 65 365 58.5 5.6 1 1 37 6–38 72.9 0–1
2004 NYG 10–9 174 277 2,054 62.8 7.4 6 4 62 39–196 86.5 5–4
2005 ARI 10–10 242 375 2,713 64.5 7.2 11 9 63 23–158 85.8 2–8
2006 ARI 6–5 108 168 1,377 64.3 8.2 6 5 64 14–104 89.3 1–4
2007 ARI 14–11 281 441 3,417 62.3 7.6 27 17 62 20–140 89.8 5–6
2008 ARI 16–16 401 598 4,583 67.1 7.7 30 14 79 26–182 96.9 9–7
2009 ARI 15–15 339 513 3,753 66.1 7.1 26 14 45 24–172 93.2 10–5
Career 124–116 2,666 4,070 32,344 65.5 7.9 208 128 85 260–1,669 93.7 67–49

NFL postseason

Year Team G W-L Cmp Att % Yds TD Int Lng Y/A Y/G Rate
1999 STL 3 3-0 77 121 63.6 1,063 8 4 77 8.8 354.3 100.0
2000 STL 1 0-1 24 40 60.0 365 3 3 38 9.1 365.0 83.9
2001 STL 3 2-1 68 107 63.6 793 4 3 50 7.4 264.3 86.7
2008 ARI 4 3-1 92 135 68.1 1,147 11 3 71 8.5 286.8 112.2
2009 ARI 2 1-1 46 59 78.0 584 5 1 33 9.9 292.0 129.1
Career 13 9-4 307 462 66.5 3,952 31 14 77 8.6 304.0 102.8
3 yrs STL 7 5-2 169 268 63.1 2,221 15 10 77 8.3 317.3 92.3
2 yrs ARI 6 4-2 138 194 71.1 1,731 16 4 71 8.9 288.5 117.4

NFL records

Warner shares several records:

Warner also ranks second in several categories:

Personal life

Kurt and Brenda Warner in February 2005


Kurt Warner was born to Gene and Sue Warner. Warner's parents divorced when he was six. Kurt and his brother lived with their mother, including through another short marriage and divorce.[63]

Kurt's father, Gene Warner, remarried a year after divorcing Kurt's mom. Warner's stepmother, Mimi Warner, also had a son named Matt (Post). The three boys formed a close relationship soon thereafter. Kurt graduated in 1989 from Regis High School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was quarterback of the school's Class 3A football team.


Warner graduated from University of Northern Iowa in 1993 with a degree in communications.


During college, Warner met his future wife, Brenda Carney Meoni; they married on October 11, 1997. Brenda is a former United States Marine Corps corporal. She was divorced with two children, one of whom had been left brain damaged and blind after being dropped by Brenda's ex-husband, leading to her hardship discharge from the Marines in 1990.[64]

After Warner was cut from the Packers' training camp in 1994, he got a job working the night shift as a Night Stock Clerk at a local Hy-Vee grocery store, in addition to his work as an assistant coach at Northern Iowa. While Warner was working as an assistant coach, the couple were living in Brenda's parents' basement in Cedar Falls. Brenda's parents were killed in 1996 when their Mountain View, Arkansas home was destroyed by a tornado. Warner and Brenda married on October 11, 1997, at the St. John American Lutheran Church, the same place where the service for Brenda's parents were held.[65] Warner was still hoping to get an NFL tryout, but with that possibility appearing dim and the long hours at the Hy-Vee for minimum wage taking their toll, Warner began his Arena League career.[66]

After marrying Brenda, Warner officially adopted her two children from her first marriage; they have since added five children of their own.

Christian faith and testimony

Kurt and Brenda Warner are devout evangelical Christians. His faith first emerged on the national stage following the Rams' Super Bowl victory, where he was named the game's MVP:

Mike Tirico from ABC: "Kurt, first things first — tell me about the final touchdown pass to Isaac."

Kurt Warner: "Well, first things first, I've got to thank my Lord and Savior up above — thank you, Jesus!"[67]

Nine years later, upon leading the Cardinals to the franchise's first ever Super Bowl, Warner's response was similar:

Terry Bradshaw from Fox: "You're not going to like this, but you're the third oldest quarterback to ever play in the Super Bowl. How does that make you feel?"
Kurt Warner: "Everybody's going to be tired of hearing this, but I never get tired of saying it. There's one reason that I'm standing up on this stage today. That's because of my Lord up above. I've got to say thanks to Jesus; you knew I was going to do it, but I've got to do it. And secondly, I've gotta say thanks to you guys (motioning to the Arizona fans); when nobody else believed in us, when nobody else believed in me, you guys did. And we're going to the Super Bowl!"[68]

Warner has usually attended charismatic churches, and believes that God healed him from a concussion he suffered in 2000. However, he eschews the term "charismatic." In 2001, he told Charisma, "I'm just a Christian."[69]


In 2010, Warner joined NFL Network as an analyst. He can be seen regularly on NFL Total Access, as well as in-studio on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football pregame show, Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Sears. Warner also served as an analyst for the NFL Network's coverage of the 2010 Arena Football League playoffs.

In August 2010, Fox Sports announced that Warner would be serving as a color analyst on the network's NFL coverage in the 2010 season. He teamed with play-by-play announcers Chris Rose or Chris Myers to call regional games.[70]

In 2014, Westwood One radio hired Warner as a substitute analyst on Monday Night Football games when regular analyst Boomer Esiason is unavailable.[71]

Television appearances

On January 27, 2009, Warner made a special appearance on the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser.[72]

Warner made a guest appearance on Disney's The Suite Life on Deck as himself, in the episode "Any Given Fantasy" which aired on January 18, 2010.[73]

On February 9, 2010, Warner was a surprise guest on the final episode of The Jay Leno Show.[74]

On August 30, 2010, it was announced on live television that Warner would be appearing as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. His professional dance partner was Anna Trebunskaya; the couple was eliminated in week 8, the Instant Choreography Week.

Warner appeared as the host of The Moment, a reality series on USA Network, in 2013.[75]

Television guest appearances
Year Title Role Episode(s)
2009 The Biggest Loser Himself Season 7, episode 4
2010 The Suite Life on Deck Himself Season 2, episode 16 "Any Given Fantasy"
The Jay Leno Show Himself Season 1, episode 95
Dancing With the Stars Himself Season 11


On December 3, 2010, Warner's first multi-year post-retirement endorsement agreement was announced.[76] Amway North America announced that it had signed Warner to a multi-year endorsement agreement to represent the Nutrilite brand. Amway reportedly agreed to make a $50,000 donation Kurt Warner's First Things First Foundation.[77]

In addition to his post-retirement endorsements and charity work, Warner has invested in the Elite Football League of India, a South Asian professional football league. Other prominent American backers include former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin, sports analyst Ron Jaworski, and actor Mark Wahlberg.[78][79] Warner's total investment amount remains undisclosed, although $50,000 of it will go towards a donation of footballs to schools and underprivileged children throughout India.[80]

Public service

Warner has also appeared in several public service announcements for Civitan International, promoting his and Brenda's volunteer efforts and their work with the developmentally disabled.[81] This issue is personally close to Warner, as Zachary, his adopted son from Brenda's first marriage, suffered major brain damage as an infant when his biological father accidentally dropped him.

Warner has devoted time and money to his First Things First Foundation, the name of which was derived from his interview after winning the Super Bowl in 1999. The foundation is dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, sharing experiences and providing opportunities to encourage everyone that all things are possible when people seek to put ‘first things first.’ The foundation has been involved with numerous projects for causes such as children's hospitals, people with developmental disabilities and assisting single parents.[82] Warner's work both on and off the field resulted in him being awarded the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award 2008, which was presented to him at the start of Super Bowl XLIII.[83] In March 2009, Warner was honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Leadership Award.[84] Warner was selected by USA Weekend as the winner of its annual Most Caring Athlete Award for 2009.[85] In December 2009, Warner topped a Sports Illustrated poll of NFL players to name the best role model on and off the field in the NFL.[86]

In February 2010, Warner received the annual Bart Starr Award, given for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.[87] At the award presentation, Bart Starr said of Warner: "We have never given this award to anyone who is more deserving".[88]

See also


  1. Dan Merica (September 8, 2012). "From Kurt Warner's wife to 'Christian famous'". Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  2. "Kurt Warner at". Sporthaven.com. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
  3. 1 2 Brandt, Gil (March 17, 2010). "Warner tops list of best undrafted players of all time". NFL.com. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  4. "'It's been an amazing ride': Warner retires after 12 NFL seasons". NFL.com. January 31, 2010. Archived from the original on March 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  5. "AP NFL MVP Winners", databaseFootball.com
  6. "Super Bowl XXXIV MVP", NFL.com
  7. "Career Passer Rating Leaders", Pro-Football-Reference.com
  8. "Career Passer Rating Leaders", NFL.com
  9. 1 2 "Career Pass Completion % Leaders", Pro-Football-Reference.com
  10. "Warner retires after 12 seasons". Sports Illustrated. 2010-01-29. Archived from the original on February 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  11. [multimedia.boston.com/football/coaches/steve-mariucci.htm]
  12. Mikkelson, Barbara (2009-01-30). "Kurt Reply". Snopes.com. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  13. Kurt and Brenda Warner: Putting First Things First, 700 Club video interview
  14. "Best Arena Players per". Sports.espn.go.com. 2006-01-18. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
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  17. "Most Popular". CNN.
  18. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/award_sbmvp.htm
  19. "N.F.L.: ROUNDUP; Warner Out Again With Broken Hand". The New York Times. December 3, 2002.
  20. http://www.espn.com/nfl/columns/story?id=1785927&columnist=pasquarelli_len
  21. "Warner signs 3-year, $18M deal with Cardinals". ESPN. 2006-02-15. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
  22. Leinart out for the season; Cards sign Rattay as backup to Warner Archived May 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. "In midst of MVP-type season, Warner is name for Fame". Sportsline.com. 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
  24. Pro Bowl Rosters on NFL.COM Published: Dec. 22, 2010 at 09:33 p.m. Updated: July 26, 2012 at 08:26 p.m. Retrieved: October 22, 2013
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  27. Warner Becomes a Free Agent Yahoo Sports, February 27, 2009
  28. Clayton, John (March 4, 2009). "Warner, Cardinals agree". ESPN. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  29. "The Official Site of the Arizona Cardinals". Azcardinals.com. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
  30. Warner Undergoes Hip Surgery ESPN, March 18, 2009
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  33. "Milestones: Warner bags 200th TD pass". denverpost.com. November 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  34. 1 2 Cannon, John (November 30, 2009). "Kurt Warner to see Specialist for Post-Concussion Symptoms". nflfootballpicks.org. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  35. "Cardinals Leinart Starts at QB". ESPN. November 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  36. "Warner's hip better; no concussion issues". azcentral.com. December 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
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  40. McManaman, Bob (December 29, 2009). "4 Arizona Cardinals named to 2010 Pro Bowl". azcentral.com. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
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  42. "Strangely, defense seals Cards' OT win over Packers". NFL.com. January 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
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  76. Amway press release "NFL and Super Bowl MVP Endorses Amway’s World-Leading Brand of Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements" Dec 4, 2010 6:12pm, Retrieved: Oct 22, 2013
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  78. http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/06/1661045.html
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  85. "Warner named best role model by NFL players". azcentral.com. December 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  86. Pitcher, Tim (February 6, 2010). "Kurt Warner Honored as 2010 Bart Starr Award Winner at the 23rd Annual Super Bowl Breakfast". athletesinaction.org. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  87. Farmer, Jenna (February 7, 2010). "Kurt Warner's help in community recognized by the NFL". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2010-02-08.

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